Hermione Granger lifted her tired arms high enough to hang up her coat before turning around and slumping against the wall next to it. It was only mid-morning but she had been up since before dawn, tracking down a useless lead. Her partner had warned her that her search would be fruitless but that had just pushed her more, determined to prove him wrong.
From across the room, their assistant, Luna Lovegood, offered a soft smile before her airy disposition was disrupted by the sound of someone coming through the fireplace behind her. Despite working there for nearly a year, Luna was still startled by the sudden presence of someone entering. With a smile quickly stretching across her face at the prospect of a new client, Luna turned around and stood.
An attractive woman stepped through, her eyes searching for someone of authority. She took Luna’s outstretched hand and answered her calming, sometimes odd, questions as Hermione stood. The woman was average height but had very long and shiny red hair that stood out in stark contrast to her beautiful emerald eyes. The red suit she was wearing was just the right shade to accentuate both as well as show off her incredible figure. Gold bangles adorned each wrist as well as a golden hoop earring in each ear.
When Luna turned around to face her, Hermione realised that she had missed the entire exchange. Already feeling uncomfortable about her own appearance, she was even less reluctant to appear stupid.
“Thank you, Luna.”
She took the proffered notepad from her friend and led the woman to her office. Her eyes quickly scanned the notepad as the woman took a seat across from her desk and Hermione closed the door.
“Hello, Miss O’Keeffe. My name is Hermione Granger. I’m one of the detectives here. I understand you’ve been having some trouble at work? That you think somebody may be following you?”
The woman nodded. “Yes, for a few weeks now. I didn’t know what to make of it - thought I might be imagining it. That was until yesterday. I didn’t want to waste Ministry services if it was nothing so-”
The door swung open and Draco Malfoy walked in. When Hermione had set up her detective agency two years prior, it was initially just a way to wind down after the war and fulfil a childhood dream at the same time. She always knew she’d end up at the Ministry some day and spend her days buried in books and parchment. It was something she loved doing. But the idea of doing that straight after the war was unappealing; getting through her final year at Hogwarts had been hard enough.
When her business had started looking like it would go under, Hermione just saw it as a sign that it was time to move on. She was content with it until a certain blonde former-Slytherin had shown up at her door one morning with an offer so intriguing that she just couldn’t refuse. He had the money to keep her business going, the desire to do something a little different in his life. All he wanted was to work with her. She hadn’t heard a whole lot about him after the war and she could admit she was curious about the man he had become. What she failed to remember was the boy he used to be.
Hermione scowled as Draco propped himself up on the corner of her desk and offered a hand to their client. Her strong suit was not schmoozing with the clients and she put her initial loss of business down to that. Whilst they now had more clients due to Draco’s charming demeanor, she also had more work. Draco was notoriously lazy on their cases, often trying to ‘wing’ his way through them and it was only because she worked so hard to gather information that they got anywhere. Even now, as he flirted shamelessly with the gorgeous woman sitting in front of them, he was failing to get any useful information for their case.
Hermione cleared her throat loudly.
“If it’s okay, Miss O’Keeffe, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions related to your case?”
“Dina.” The woman said as she turned her sparkling eyes toward her. “And ask me anything you like. I really want this sorted as soon as possible.”
“Of course. May I ask when you first noticed things weren’t right?”
Dina nervously played with the straps of her wand bag. “A few weeks ago. I had just closed up the shop when I noticed someone standing across the alley. I couldn’t quite make them out but they disappeared as soon as I noticed them. I didn’t think anything of it until I noticed that I was being followed everywhere. Then, yesterday, a man wanted a purchase return. It was all wrapped up in cloth but he had a receipt so I gave him the money. Before I could check it, I was called away by a customer. It was only seconds after that I... I...”
She sniffed and Draco placed a hand on her shoulder. She looked up and smiled at him. Hermione rolled her eyes.
“There was a scream. I ran back to the desk but a woman was lying on the ground, cursed. In her hand was the book.”
Hermione leaned forward. “Book?”
Draco turned his head and scoffed. “Of course, that’s the part that interests you.”
Hermione ignored him.
“I run a bookstore. ‘Everything Magic’. It’s just outside the village. I’ve never had a problem there before and I’ve been working there since I was six. It used to be my mother’s store.”
“Was there anything special about this book?”
Dina shook her head and dabbed at the corner of her eyes. “Nothing. It was last year’s edition of ‘Hogwarts: A History’ and I assumed he was returning it to get the newest one.”
Hermione finished off her note before looking up. “Would it be alright with you if we came by the store to have a look?”
The client frowned lightly. “Well, because of what happened, I closed it down last night but I could always reopen it just for you.”
Draco leapt up. “No need. I think I have a better idea. Would you mind if we reopened it for a few days? We can go undercover at the bookstore and determine whether it is you they’re after or something from your store. Then we can go from there.”
Dina nodded and stood. She pulled an elegant key from her wand bag and placed it on the desk. Her eyes were wide with fright as she looked to him.
“Do you think it will be safe for me to go home?”
Draco placed a hand on the small of her back as he led her from the room. “Of course. We’ll be heading over to the bookstore so if you need anything, don’t be afraid to call. Make sure you keep your place secured.”
Hermione picked up the kay and looked it over. It was a small silver key that had obviously been gold plated at some point. Intricately carved, it was just the sort of think she could imagine opening an old bookstore with. When Draco returned, he flopped himself heavily on the couch in her office and grinned.
“Once again I think this is going to be all work for me and all play for you.”
“Come on Granger! This’ll be fun. Haven’t you ever wanted to run a bookstore?”
“That’s beside the point-”
Draco sat up. “Besides, they’re probably after her anyway. But if their intention was to scare her off so they could steal something, we’ll be there to catch them! Mystery, action, someone good looking-”
“I hardly think her attractiveness should matter.”
Draco smirked. “I was talking about me.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and stood, reaching for her robe haphazardly slung across the back. “Fine, let’s just get this over with.”
Upon re-entering the main office, Hermione stopped short of a twirling Luna, trying to get entangled leaves from her hair. Looking around the office, she couldn’t see where they would have come from but it also wasn’t too unusual for them to be stumped by her either. Without waiting for Draco to get his robe, she waved goodbye to a distracted Luna and flooed to the bookstore.
It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the darkness but it was long enough for Draco to stumble in behind her. He moved around like a bull in a china shop and just as she thought his eyes were beginning to focus, she used her wand to light up the room. The growl of dissatisfaction from her partner made her grin.
The victim and the book were gone but the cloth the book had been wrapped in was hanging off the desk. There were a few books out of place but mostly everything was neat and orderly. With the tip of her wand, Hermione spelled the books in a box beside the counter up onto the shelves. Her grin at the simple magic didn’t go unnoticed and she pointed toward the back of the store before Draco could say anything. She heard him clamoring out back before a problem struck her.
“Uh, we’re supposed to be going undercover, right?”
An affirmation came from the back and Hermione looked at herself in an antique mirror on the wall.
“I think our slightly noticeable faces will be noticed.”
Draco’s head popped out from behind a bookshelf. “I know. That’s why I stopped to get the Polyjuice potion that I had in my office.”
“You had Polyjuice just lying around?”
“I was hoping for a case like this.”
There was no way she was going to ask anything more. If he’d gotten it from someone, she was going to be hesitant about its ingredients. If he’d made it himself, she certainly did not want to know how he’d gotten everything.
“I’ve got enough to last about three days.” Draco said, as he pulled two vials from his pocket. “But I think we’ll be done before then.”
Hermione nodded her assent and Draco pointed up the stairs.
The day in, day out with the customers was pretty much all Hermione expected. She loved interacting with people, helping them find specific titles - it was just how she imagined it as a child, the only difference being the magic that constantly surrounded her. She was in her element and, to her surprise, Draco was a pleasant help. They worked well together, usually being where the other couldn't, and she found herself thinking that if only he was so helpful during their cases, they might have a quicker turnover. A few times he surprised her by surpassing her knowledge on certain books but she wrote it off as anomalies. Just because he spent the majority of their schooling trying to take her position as head of the class, didn't mean he necessarily wanted it and without the desire, success was unlikely. The thought of him buried in books in a library made her laugh out loud and earnt her curious looks from customers.
Several people asked after the proprietress but none that she deemed as 'suspicious'. On the second night, however, Draco had just finished closing the store when he approached her with raised eyebrows.
"Did you see that?"
"The last guy to leave! He's been here almost all day the last two days!"
"Malfoy, plenty of people spend their time in bookstores."
"Hardly! Besides, he wasn't reading or looking for books. He's checked just about every nook and cranny out the front and tried slipping out the back twice."
"But why would a suspect be looking through he store rather than finding the owner?"
Draco sat in one of the reading nooks and waited as Hermione shelved the last book and sat in the armchair beside his.
"Maybe he thought there'd be a clue here to her whereabouts?"
Hermione raised both eyebrows. "Or maybe he's not after her at all?!"
"Think about it. Maybe she has something he's after. She leaves the store, but he sticks around because he knows she can't take it with him."
"That sounds ridiculous, Granger, even for you. We met her. She wasn't the type to be mixed in with that sort of thing."
Hermione rolled her eyes and scoffed. "You just get sidetracked by pretty faces."
"I think I'm pretty good at doing my job despite a pretty face!"
"Not this case. I think we've both missed a few things. Perhaps we should look into our client again. We've got plenty of research material."
Draco groaned and flopped back dramatically in his chair. Research parties were never as much fun as they sounded.
Despite his resistance, they actually managed to do a lot of research into the store itself, from its founding until the present, but there was nothing that drew their attention to the store itself. Seeing no reason for somebody to take particular interest into the store, Hermione began looking into the current owner – their vivacious and attractive client.
The sun was just about to break into the sky when Hermione stirred in her sleep, enough to wake her. She kept her eyes closed, but from the horrible crick in her neck she supposed she must have fallen asleep in the armchair during the early hours of the morning. Draco had put a blanket over her and was endeavouring to move about the room quietly. Despite his light footfalls, Hermione had learnt to wake at the slightest noise during the war. It had come in handy several times whilst she was a fugitive with Harry and as she cracked her eyelids open, Hermione noticed Draco checking spots in the apparently solid walls. The inventory from the back was flying across the room to its ordered shelves and with merely a soft hoot for warning, an owl perched itself on the windowsill and dropped a newspaper.
“Can you get that, Granger? I’ve still got two more walls to check out before we open.”
She didn’t question how he knew she’d woken. A few strides had her at the window and she happily fed the bird before patting its soft feathers. She opened the newspaper and was scanning through the pages for any noticeable articles when her eyes stopped on the obituaries column.
“Did you know her father just died?”
There was a noncommittal answer from the other side of the room. She continued on as she read.
“It says here that he left her the book store though, from what she told us, it was probably just in deed. He was born in Ireland. Huh, I guess that explains her look. Still, apparently he was the last...”
Her brain raced as she tried to put together the last few pieces of the puzzle that was staring her in the face. The words in front of her blurred and her focus landed on a small figurine on the window sill. It was a simple cauldron with a ladle sticking out but an idea had sprung into her head at the very sight of it. She spun around quickly to find herself face-to-face with a confused Draco.
“The last what?”
Draco pulled the paper from her. “You trailed off mid-sentence. ‘He was the last...’...?”
“Oh, the last male in the family line.”
She was across the room and down an aisle before Draco was able to question her further.
“So? I’m currently the last male in my family line but that doesn’t make you go all gah-gah.”
“Maybe you’re just not trying hard enough!”
Sprinting passed an amused Draco, Hermione dropped several books on the coffee table and began flipping through pages.
“Lore? Am I missing something here?”
Draco ignored the tongue-in-cheek response as the first customer knocked on the door. Flipping the sign, he unlocked the door and the day began. For the first hour Hermione sat in her armchair pouring through the books before she triumphantly closed them and returned them to the shelves. By the end of the day, both were tired and could feel the tingling signs of the potion wearing off. Hermione closed the door, flipped the sign and turned around, grinning from ear to ear as Draco flopped into an armchair.
Hermione shook her head. “Nope. I think I know just about all I need to. This case is done.”
Draco sat up suddenly. “You can’t be serious! You’ve figured out everything just from reading her father’s obituary?”
Hermione sat down on the coffee table in front of him. “Not only have I figured out who’s after her, but I know how we can get them to stop – well, hopefully. It’ll be up to her. Either way, our case is done and this time we’ll actually get paid for it!”
It was a month later when Hermione and Draco walked up to the store again.
“I have to admit, this was one of your better ideas!”
Hermione grinned as she pushed open the green door and stepped inside. The book store retained the same basic layout but there were now potted plants scattered around the store with golden coins spilling out the top. There was a large net suspended above the cash register that was filled with golden objects and the end of each aisle was decorated green with a small pot of golden coins at the base with the words ‘lucky dip’ on the sign above them. Dina O'Keefe greeted them with a smile.
“How does it look?”
Hermione laughed as she pointed around them. “I think it looks great! Better than what I had in mind!”
“Do you still have anyone tailing you?”
Her crimson waves bounced as she shook her head. “Nope. There was for a little bit but once I opened the store, they seemed to have... well, it seems like they were scared off.”
“Taunting them with what they can’t have will probably do that. Did Gringotts offer you extra security around your vault?”
“No, but with the wards Hermione put up, I’m sure my father’s gold is safe. I’m just glad you could sort this all out.”
“Well, there’s no lore about Leprechauns having daughters, let alone what one should do with her inheritance. I must say that I don’t pity your father constantly having to be on guard about it – it doesn’t seem like much of a life to live.”
"It’s not. I barely saw him when I was growing up. It seemed like he was always on the run and he couldn’t tell anybody about it. I miss what we could have had.”
Draco shifted on the spot and Hermione placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “I’m sure he would have been proud with how you dealt with this, what you did to not only settle things but how his memory lives on in a way.”
Dina O'Keefe smiled and led them further into the store.
“Come on, I’ve got lots to show you!”
Hermione shook her head as Draco followed after her. She almost didn’t catch the quick wink he threw back at her but as she smiled to herself and thought about the possibilities, she DID notice the tiny shimmering shamrock that floated down in front of her. She caught it in her hand and closed her eyes as she made a quick wish and blew it away.
Who knew – perhaps there was more than one kind of magic after all?